The challenges of lexical acquisition, and young children’s solutions to these challenges, have been well studied. In recent work, I've been focusing on three aspects of this research program, specifically with respect to words that denote events. First, I aim to refine our understanding of how children use linguistic information to learn new verb meanings. Second, I ask whether naturalistic parent input is provides supportive linguistic information for verb learning. And third, I am interested in how different kinds of events might cause different challenges for word learners. I will present results from experiments with typically developing children and their parents, and if time permits, talk about how we’re extending this research to children with delayed language.
Sudha Arunachalam is an Associate Professor of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at NYU. She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics and M.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Southern California. In her research program, she examines how infants, toddlers, and preschoolers acquire their native language. She studies children who are developing typically, children with autism spectrum disorder, and children with language delay. In collaborations with researchers all over the world, she has studied children who are acquiring languages other than English, including Turkish and Korean. She is particularly interested in the learning mechanisms underlying language acquisition and in how caregiver-child interactions support learning. This interdisciplinary work integrates insights from the fields of communication disorders, linguistics, and cognitive and developmental psychology, and it involves several behavioral methods with a focus on eye-tracking. Sudha has authored dozens of journal articles, and her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and several private foundations. Prior to joining NYU, Sudha was an Assistant and then Associate Professor at Boston University in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences, and Linguistics.